How Child Care Benefits Can Increase Retention and Recruitment
By Tom Keller - Managing Partner, Kiddie Academy in St. Louis
Along with healthcare, dental coverage and paid time off, child care assistance is a high-value benefit in employee compensation packages. It’s a more recent innovation in HR benefits, previously either not considered or overlooked as an essential tool to find and keep the best talent. That's no longer the case.
Child care benefits help leaders create a better employee experience. There is a strong business case to be made for finding methods that support employees as parents–it demonstrates a commitment to bettering their lives outside of work. Programs like these pay dividends in the form of increased productivity, improved retention, and overall happiness.
Your company has a quantifiable stake in child care programs. Nationally, 62% of working parents struggle to find quality and affordable care for their children and two million of them quit their jobs because of it every year. Forty-five percent of them report missing work due to childcare issues. This results in missed work days, income, and productivity.
While the health and safety issues related to COVID-19 are unique, the need for reliable, high quality childcare for the 14 million parents with young children is nothing new. However, the pandemic health crisis increased national awareness of how critical childcare is to every business and ultimately, the U.S. economy overall.
Learning From The Pandemic
Flexible work from home options don’t eliminate the need for quality, dependable childcare. Remote work solutions created new challenges for parents, resulting in more stress and conflicting priorities. In a survey of working parents conducted by Care.com, 66% of respondents admitted that their productivity suffered due to juggling childcare and work responsibilities during the pandemic.
Challenges finding childcare remain unresolved and have grown over time. According to an October 2020 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the number of people who left the workforce due to COVID-19 far exceeded what employers expected.
Those not returning to work cited an inability to find childcare solutions that meet their needs as the primary reason. The same report found that 11% of parents declined a new opportunity or promotion to provide childcare and 6% left the workforce entirely.
Women have been particularly hard hit by the challenges of COVID-19. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 2.6 million women left the U.S. workforce between March and September 2020, including a staggering 865,000 women in September alone— four times more than men.
The future outlook for childcare concerns isn’t much better for parents who are in the workforce. In October, the U.S.Chamber of Commerce Foundation reported that more than 60% of currently employed parents expect to change their childcare arrangements in the next year. For employers, that’s a critical point that can’t be ignored. Those looming changes are often a tipping point for parents, and can result in employers losing valued staff if they are unable to find affordable, quality childcare.
Be More Effective at Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent
Given the complexities of the past year, the competition for recruiting and keeping valued employees is higher than ever. Offering childcare benefits can make a huge difference in this effort while also reducing turnover costs and increasing productivity.
For example, the Care.com study found that 67% of working parents would be more loyal to their current job if they were offered employer-subsidized child care, and the percentage rose to 74% for those with kids under 4 years old. And, 60% of parents believe their job performance would also improve if childcare benefits were available.
Further research by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that when companies provide child care assistance, employee absences can decrease by 30% and job turnover can decline by 60%.
Organizations that are committed to taking an active role in helping working parents solve their child care challenges are better-positioned to attract new talent, increase productivity and reduce turnover rates. Perhaps more than ever, childcare benefit options require the same serious consideration as health, insurance and other must-haves in compensation packages.
About Tom Keller
Tom is Managing Partner for Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care Centers in St. Louis. The company offers Workplace Essentials, an employer-sponsored child care benefits program that helps St. Louis companies attract and retain top talent. Every Workplace Essentials partnership is designed to meet the organization’s needs and identify the solutions that will work hard for employees.
Start a conversation with us about how your company can offer childcare benefits with Kiddie Academy Workplace Essentials.